Frodo's Last Look

by Overlithe

…Like he hadn’t felt in long years…He was filled with happiness; no, not happy that wasn’t quite the word for what he felt.

Long years had passed since he had felt this well, “light”, “unburdened”, the list of adjectives could go on forever. He smiled at the sheer joy he felt in his heart, how long had it been since he had been amused simply by his own thoughts? Years perhaps? Now, unfettered from the misery he had been drowning in; his old self bubbled forth. Even the irony of it seemed amusing, for as he left his home; never had he felt more like staying, nor indeed more like a ‘normal’ Hobbit.

Parting from his dear cousins and dearest friend was the hardest of course, how could it be otherwise, it was not for himself that he feared the separation, for he had long since ceased “being” any sort of companion to any of them. Now, looking back, he could see even more clearly the rightness of his choice. Through eyes cleared of the fog that had been left by the loss of the Ring, he could now see it, the certainty of his future should he stay in the Shire. He wondered if this was the “gray curtain” of which Gandalf spoke. The one that would roll back to reveal the white shores to come. Whether or no, it was “his” curtain and it had rolled back, yet it was not his future he beheld, but at this moment of parting, it was his past.

Things long forgotten came to him. The thrill of outrunning farmer Maggots dogs, the adrenalin rush of being caught by the same. The love of his Mother long buried and suppressed, the taste of strawberries came to mind and he nearly laughed aloud. The sound of Merry’s cry when he was a child, and years later and volumes louder, Pippin’s cries, Sam’s grimy little face the first time he had met him. The feel of the soil of the garden, warm and moist in the summer evenings, the smell of the flowers that bloomed beside his bedroom windows, He closed his eyes and felt the sea breeze against his face, the tang of the sea in his nose was an old, new memory. He had seen it and felt it before yet only in dreams, now he relished the reality of it. Overshadowing all was love, he loved and he could ‘feel’ it, like everything else it had been buried, muffled, nearly silenced by all that was the Ring and what it had done to his mind and his senses. So insidious had it been that until it was all cleared away he had not realized how insulated he had become.

“No Sam, I can’t recall the taste of food.”

That had been the worst of it and that feeling had never fully abated, he knew food should taste good, that he should enjoy it, but it all turned to dust in his mouth. It had brought no joy or comfort these last few years. The Rings destruction could not repair the damage left in its wake, what he was left with was a mere shadow of what he had once been. He pondered only a moment wondering if his friends knew how far he had strayed from his “real” self. A distant memory of bacon frying with mushrooms and perhaps some eggs came to mind and he could smell it, really and truly smell it. His stomach growled in response, hunger…an actual appetite. Another sensation restored to health.

He turned back grinning joyfully, carefree. How much time had passed? Surely the others had long turned for home; and yet there they all stood, tears in their eyes but the grief was turning to wonder. His cheeks were flushing, so alive he felt and filled with such rapturous well being…He knew with one last look that they knew, they could see it, he would heal, he would find peace on the other side and he no longer worried over them, they would go on and find peace and long life he “knew it”. He held their eyes for long moments in final farewell, and he could feel the sadness of the parting but it was overshadowed by the promise of healing.

He allowed himself to linger in his last look at his beloved friends, his smile reached into his eyes; he nodded once and turned away “into the west”. He was Frodo Baggins again, and He had come home to himself at last.